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The Die is Cast

I grew up in Muncie, Indiana, a town with a long (for this country at least) history of industry and manufacturing. My grandfathers and their fathers worked in various factories, most using large presses for making metal parts from sheet metal. These machines use immense force and finely machined dies to form and cut the product.

Huge stamping press
Huge stamping press

Whenever I heard the phrase “the die is cast,” I always assumed that’s what it referred to. The meaning was that something occurred that would shape all subsequent events as a die shapes its product.

The other day while reading, I came across the phrase and realized that’s not the derivation at all. It comes from gaming, not manufacture. A die, in this case, is the singular of dice, and cast is another word for throw.

Death of Sin

Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy, Pride

The concepts of sin and virtue are universal. Every society and religion on the planet teaches that some actions move us forward, and others move us backward. Most cultures share similar ideas as to which traits are positive (virtues) and negative (sins).

Problems arise with these teachings when they are too simplistic and regimented. Our focus moves outward, away from our internal guidance, toward behavior and hope of an ultimate reward (Heaven, enlightenment, Moksha, Valhalla, whatever). If, on the other hand, we focus internally and are present in the moment, we will get a more precise sense of what is best for us and our situations.